Tags: Castro-Cuba | ileana ros-lehtinen | cuba | economic | sanctions | house

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: House Tightening Sanctions Helps Cuban People

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015 06:18 PM

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Wednesday praised the House of Representatives for voting to tighten economic sanctions against the Castro regime, saying that not doing so "would have only strengthened Cuba’s repressive military and intelligence apparatus."

"Prohibiting funds from being used to help facilitate exports to the Castro regime’s military and intelligence services is one of the most basic steps we can take to help the Cuban people," the Florida Republican said. "Only by tightening sanctions can we hope to weaken the Castro’s repressive apparatus."

The House voted 273-153 to ensure that no exports to Cuba under President Barack Obama's new "Support for the Cuban People" effort can go through entities owned or controlled by officers of Cuba's military, the country's security services, or their immediate relatives.

The legislation, an amendment proposed by California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr to an overall Cuba appropriations bill, was supported by more than 30 Democrats.

The primary bill was introduced on Tuesday and seeks to block financing for an American embassy or other diplomatic facility in Cuba beyond what existed before Obama's December announcement that he would move to normalize relations with Havana.

The House was expected to vote on the appropriations bill later Wednesday.

Both Republicans and Democrats have objected to the shift in U.S. policy toward Havana. They have called on Cuba's government to do more to improve human rights, release U.S. fugitives living on the island, and allow free elections before easing restrictions on trade, travel and diplomatic relations.

Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs a panel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and other Republican Cuban-American lawmakers have been most opposed to the president's forays toward the Communist-ruled island.

She noted the Cuban military's active role in such atrocities as the shooting down of two planes in 1996 owned by the Brothers to the Rescue Inc. anti-Cuba group formed by exiles now living in Miami.

The planes were attacked by the Cuban Air Force. The organization was established in 1991.

"The Cuban military and its intelligence agency have been responsible for committing vast human-rights violations against the Cuban people; advising and training the Venezuelan military, which in 2013 was responsible for killing many innocent Venezuelans; and the murder of four men in the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down, three of them American citizens," Ros-Lehtinen said.

Another Florida Republican, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, noted that more than 2,000 pro-democracy activists had been arrested since Obama announced his Cuba policy.

"The thugs responsible for these arrests in Cuba are the very individuals that would benefit most from this misguided amendment," he said. "I was glad to see the House defeat this amendment."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Wednesday praised the House of Representatives for voting to tighten economic sanctions against the Castro regime, saying that not doing so "would have only strengthened Cuba’s repressive military and intelligence apparatus."
ileana ros-lehtinen, cuba, economic, sanctions, house
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2015-18-03
Wednesday, 03 Jun 2015 06:18 PM
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